[Africa Tech Week] African startups set to raise more funds in 2019
The African startup ecosystem continues to thrive, the innovation revolution by these startups is on the rise. They not only bring massive impact to the local communities but also across other countries. In fact, Africa has been described as the future, but these innovative startups need help to scale or expand to other markets and are set to raise more funds in 2019 to achieve these milestones.
This week, Johnson & Johnson launched the Champions of Science Africa Innovation Challenge 2.0. The challenge is a continent-wide competition calling on African startups to submit ideas for innovative technologies, products and solutions that have the potential to create a positive impact on African communities. This came just a few days after South African media conglomerate Naspers announced that it was setting up $96m Naspers Foundry fund to invest into South African technology startups. The money will fund and support startups seeking to address big societal needs.14 African Fintech startups were also selected to join the CATAPULT: Inclusion Africa program scheduled to take place between the 5th and 9th of November at the LHoFT.The selected fintech startups will be provided with a tailor-made program with intensive mentoring, coaching, peer to peer learning and dedicated workshops.
Still on Startups, Kenyan Venture Capitalist firm, Novastar Ventures announced that it has raised $72.5 million for its second fund, Novastar II. The firm has also gone ahead and announced plans to open an office in Lagos, Nigeria as it expands into West Africa.
Samsung this week also unveiled powerful new developer tools for its Bixby and SmartThings platforms. The company also unveiled new, powerful mobile experiences with One UI and Infinity Flex Display at the ongoing Samsung Developer Conference 2018. Remember the company recently opened a new interactive store at Two Rivers Mall in Nairobi. The store is also the largest Samsung Experience Store in Africa. Samsung has in recent days been unveiling new devices in the Kenyan market including the Galaxy J4+ and Galaxy J6+, and the rear triple camera Galaxy A7.
Deploying network facilities across Africa can be a costly and lengthy exercise. However, with its world’s first ALL G software-enabled Open network solution, Parallel Wireless, this week announced that it has been welcomed across the African continent with several deployments and pending trials in 12 countries (to date), which are assisting in Africa’s rapidly advancing connectivity. Last month, the company also announced a partnership with the Telesol 4G brand, the fastest LTE network in Ghana.
Temenos, the banking software company was also in the news this week. The company announced the launch of its South African "Bank of the Future" Think-Tank. The venture, which involves a quarterly gathering of some of the brightest minds in South African banking aims to address domestic and global challenges and opportunities facing financial institutions in the country. In August this year, it also announced plans to collaborate with the Venture lab at The American University in Cairo, AUC Venture Lab, the leading university-based startup accelerator in Africa and the MENA region, and strengthen the fintech ecosystem in Cairo. It recently also appointed Alexandre Menage has as Head of Sales for Temenos in Africa.
London based software technology company Fiskl this week partnered with Vodacom Group to introduce a host of mobile and digital technology solutions to South Africa's small businesses. The company also announced a partnership with South African based fintech player, Ocean on 76 recently. Looking to strengthen its presence across Africa, Fiskl launched a mobile app that aims to assist SMEs to manage everyday tasks like invoicing, expense and time management on their mobile devices. At the same time, Vodacom and Telkom concluded a long-term, multi-billion rand agreement whereby Telkom will obtain roaming and facilities leasing services from Vodacom with full effect from June 2019.
Spanish fashion retailer Zara this week also launched online sales through a dedicated worldwide online platform bringing its fashions to customers in 106 new markets.
Five months after going live in Kampala, Uganda, Kenyan taxi-hailing firm Little this week announced that it has launched in Lusaka, Zambia. The taxi-hailing market is growing really fast in Africa. In March, Telecommunication company Tigo Tanzania has entered into a strategic partnership with Uber that allows Tigo customers to use Uber app for free. Taxify also rolled out a new feature to enable its drivers to maximize their daily earning potential.
In Kenya, Safaricom launched M-PESA Global a new and revolutionary service that opens up M-PESA to the world. The new service will allow anyone from virtually anywhere in the world to send money to any M-PESA customer in Kenya. The company recently marked its 18th year anniversary since the official launch on October 23rd, 2000. As part of 18th-anniversary celebrations that began this week, the mobile operator unveiled a new brand campaign targeted at reinforcing its commitment to customers. It has also announced new Home Fibre packages that will combine mobile voice, mobile data, SMS and Home Fibre in one package. Known as Home Fibre Plus, the new packages come at a time consumer preferences are shifting to a single solution that meets all their communication needs both at home and on the go.
Other highlights of the week included MultiChoice Kenya announcing its membership into the Technology Service Providers of Kenya (TESPOK) association which aims at influencing Information Communication and Technology (ICT) policy and regulations by engaging government at the relevant levels. Oracle also announced the opening of an Innovation Hub in Johannesburg, a first for Oracle in Africa that will help drive the adoption of emerging technologies across the country’s corporates, public sector and academia.